A few years back I re-read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which I had first read as a teenager, far too young to appreciate it. Upon re-reading it I realized that it was among the most accurately prescient works of speculative fiction ever written, and when I saw a reference to it online just now I went back to look for the post I was sure I had written at the time, but apparently never got around to writing. I’ll remedy that, briefly, here.
What makes BNW so spectacularly farsighted? Three things, at least:
First, and least, is that it foresaw the enormous expansion of the managerial state, and the reduction of human life to a closely supervised pursuit of pleasure, stripped of all higher purpose or any sense of the transcendent.
Second, it predicted, decades before the mechanism of inheritance was understood, that we would soon achieve technical mastery of genetic engineering.
Most important of all, though, is that it foresaw the radically entropic dissolution, for social and ideological ends, of what is, in human terms, the primary natural category — namely the distinction between male and female. Furthermore, Huxley clearly understood that this could only happen if reproduction was completely decoupled from sexual activity, and indeed from all human experience. Only technology could make this possible.
In this era of entropic postmodernism regarding every aspect of human nature and experience, Huxley’s vision is the only logical way to sustain the march of atomizing, deracinating, and dehumanizing “progress” that has overtaken Western civilization. That Aldous Huxley saw this all so clearly in 1931 is, to put it mildly, remarkable.